NASA Successfully Tests Parachute for Ares Rocket

NASA and industry engineers have successfully completed the first drop test of a drogue parachute for the Ares I rocket. The drogue parachute is designed to slow the rapid descent of the spent first-stage motor, cast off by the Ares I rocket during its climb to space. The successful test is a key early milestone in development and production of the Ares I rocket, the first launch vehicle for NASA's Constellation Program that will send explorers to the International Space Station, the moon and beyond in coming decades.

Overview: Ares Launch Vehicles

NASA's Ares rockets, named for the Greek god associated with Mars, will return humans to the moon and later take them to Mars and other destinations.

Future astronauts will ride to orbit on Ares I, which uses a single five-segment solid rocket booster, a derivative of the space shuttle's solid rocket booster, for the first stage. A liquid oxygen/liquid hydrogen J-2X engine derived from the J-2 engine used on Apollo's second stage will power the crew exploration vehicle's second stage. The Ares I can lift more than 55,000 pounds to low Earth orbit.

Planning and early design are under way for hardware, propulsion systems and associated technologies for NASA's Ares V cargo launch vehicle -- the "heavy lifter" of America’s next-generation space fleet. Ares V will serve as NASA's primary vessel for safe, reliable delivery of large-scale hardware to space -- from the lunar landing craft and materials for establishing a moon base, to food, fresh water and other staples needed to extend a human presence beyond Earth orbit.

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